The stunning tanzanite and turquoise gemstones share a few things in common – they’re both available in glittering shades of blue, they both suit a number of popular types of jewellery, and they both represent birthstones for the month of December.

And even if you weren’t born in December, both tanzanite and turquoise gemstones make for stunning statement or daily-wear jewellery pieces. Read on for more information about these precious gems’ history, varieties and key characteristics.


What is a tanzanite?

Tanzanite Ring
Named because of its geographic origins in Tanzania, the tanzanite is a stunning bluish-purple variety of the rare mineral zoisite. Many of the stunning colours of a tanzanite can be accentuated with specific cuts and heat that can highlight the attractive blues and purples and dim the undesirable brownish tones. In fact, most of the tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to reveal this effect and make the stone much more attractive.





History of tanzanites

The first rare blue variety of zoisite was discovered in 1967 – and to this day, tanzanite gemstones can only be sourced on a few small miles of land in Tanzania. The name ‘tanzanite’ was then bestowed upon the blue zoisite by Tiffany & Co. in 1968. An estimated two million carats of the stone were initially mined – and though the tanzanite’s history isn’t as long as some of its precious counterparts, it is highly prized for its rarity, limited supplies and worldwide popularity.

Today, Tiffany’s maintains one of the world’s largest and most impressive displays of tanzanite gemstones. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC also houses an impressive collection, which includes a rare cat eye tanzanite of 18.2 carats.


What are the different varieties of tanzanite?

As there’s only a small, select amount of tanzanite available worldwide, there are no species or varieties of tanzanite gemstones. The tanzanite itself is a variety within the zoisite family, alongside anyolites, thulites and ruby zoisites.


What is a turquoise?

Turquoise Ring
Arguably the most mainstream of the December birthstones, turquoise is a semi-translucent gem that ranges from blue to green and has visible veins. Its name is derived from the French word for ‘Turkish stone’, and it is strong, yet soothing to the touch.

In terms of its meaning, the turquoise gemstone is believed to dispel negative energy and bring protection to those who wear it. As a ‘purifying’ stone, turquoises are also believed to be excellent for stress or depression, and can neutralise other physical issues.





History of turquoise gemstones

The Nishapur distract of Iran is one of the world’s turquoise hotspots, having mined the gemstones for over 1,000 years. New Mexico was another large turquoise producer, but has since been overtaken by Arizona and Nevada in terms of United States of America turquoise hotspots. And as far as production output, the Hubei Province in central China is the current largest producer of turquoise gemstones in the world.

Among many cultures, turquoises are believed to possess many powers. Two prominent powers are good health and fine fortune – and from the 13th century onwards, the turquoise gemstone was believed to protect the wearer from many forms of disaster. The turquoise gemstone is also extremely significant to Native Americans, who wear it to protect against evil. The Navajo also recognise the stone as a representation of the earth, sacred land, and all living things.

Rulers of ancient Egypt, pharaohs and Chinese artisans all adorned themselves with turquoise jewellery throughout history. Other notable figures who wore turquoise pieces include the Duchess of Windsor, Wallace Simpson and even King Tut, whose funerary mask was dotted with turquoise gems.


What are the different varieties of turquoise?

There are plenty of varieties of the turquoise gemstones. These include, but are not limited to, Bisbee, damele, kingman, morenic, Persian, pilot mountain and royston.


How did tanzanites and turquoises become the birthstones for December?

The original calendar of gemstones can be traced back to the Breastplate of Aaron. As described in the Bible’s book of Exodus, the Breastplate was adorned with gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel at the time. Based on this model, the modern birthstone list was created in 1912 – and it has since been defined by the National Association of Jewellers of the United States. The tanzanite gemstone was a later addition to this list, as it was deemed a December birthstone in the year 2002.

As well as representing one of December’s birthstones, the turquoise gemstone is often gifted as an 11th anniversary gemstone. Similarly, the rarer tanzanite gemstone is often gifted for 24th wedding anniversaries.


What jewellery pieces do tanzanite and turquoise gemstones go best with?

In jewellery pieces, turquoise gemstones are popular in statement pieces such as rings and pendants. As they are extremely versatile, they are also well suited in earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

In contrast, tanzanites are slightly more vulnerable gemstone than turquoise – and as such, they are more susceptible to scratching during daily wear. This is why the tanzanite stone is more suited for statement earrings or pendants than rings or more casual or daily-wear jewellery types.

You’ll need to take special care with both turquoise and tanzanite jewellery pieces – particularly tanzanite pieces. As mentioned above, the tanzanite gemstone is quite vulnerable and brittle, so it’s essential to avoid exposing the stone to sudden changes in temperature, or direct heat. Opt for warm, soapy water to clean tanzanite jewellery pieces, as electronic cleaners can cause irreparable damage to the piece.

Most months of the year are associated with one birthstone. However, those born in October are fortunate enough to have two gemstones to commemorate their birth month: the opal and the tourmaline. And while both stones are exquisite, popular and make for great jewellery pieces, the two stones could not be more different from one another.

So what’s an opal, what’s a tourmaline, and more importantly – what’s the difference between the two? Read on for our guide to these glittering October birthstones.


What Are Opals?

Opals are one of the world’s most popular gemstones, and are one of the birthstones for the month of October. One of the most fascinating aspects of the opal is that it can flash every colour on the spectrum with a quality that surpasses a diamond.

The value of an opal depends on its body tone, play-of-colour, pattern, brilliance, colours and size. And where geography is concerned, over 95% of the world’s precious opals come from Australia – where the opal is the national gemstone.


black opal pendant set in 14ct yellow gold by allgem jewellers

History Of Opals

The earliest known opal artefacts date back to 4,000 B.C., and were discovered in a cave in Kenya by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey. History also indicates that the Aztecs were mining opals in South and Central America at the same time.

When it comes to opal jewellery and accessories, some of the world’s most influential figures were renowned for wearing opals. Cleopatra was presented with an opal ring by Mark Antony, natural philosopher Pliny owned one, and Queen Victoria was known to gift opals to her close family and friends.


What Are The Different Varieties Of Opals?

There are multiple varieties of opals found across the world. Three common varieties are fire opals; known for intense red and orange colours, boulder opals; which have an attached rock, and common opals; which are opaque and don’t show the play-of-colour typically found within a regular opal.

Some rarer opal varieties include the black opal; which is characterised by a dark body and often mined in New South Wales, the welo opal; an Ethiopian form which can produce rich colour, and the matrix opal; which displays a network of veins.


variety of tourmaline gemstones at Allgem Jewellers


What Are Tourmalines?

The tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone which comes in more colours than any other gemstone. The term tourmaline is derived from the Sinhalese word ‘turmali’, which means ‘mixed’ – and due to its wide range of colours, tourmalines are often mistaken for many other gemstones. In fact, the similarities of the tourmaline to gemstones such as rubies are so strong, that it is believed some of the Russian crown jewels that were believed to be rubies are actually tourmalines.

There are a wide range of quality factors when it comes to valuing tourmalines. This includes their colour (thanks to its characteristically diverse rainbow of colour intensity and tone), clarity, cut and carat weight.


History Of Tourmalines

The tourmaline gemstone was first discovered off the West Coast of Italy in the late 1600’s to early 1700’s. Tourmaline deposits were then found in California in the late 1800’s, and became known as an American gem through the efforts of geologist George F. Kunz.

Another big market of the tourmaline is China – in fact, the last Empress of the Ch’ing Dynasty was so passionate about tourmalines that she purchased huge quantities of it from California. As such, when the Chinese government collapsed in 1912, US tourmaline trade ceased.


What Are The Different Varieties Of Tourmalines?

There are several coloured varieties of the tourmaline gemstone. This includes the rubellite; popular for its intense red and pink hues, the indicolite; which is blue in hue and hard to uncover, the Paraiba tourmaline found in Brazil, the chrome tourmaline; displaying an intense green hue, and the watermelon tourmaline; a bi-coloured variety with different colours on the inside and outside.


How Did Opals And Tourmalines Become The Birthstones For October?

Scholars can trace the original calendar of gemstones back to the Breastplate of Aaron as described in the Bible’s book of Exodus. The Breastplate was adorned with gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel at the time – and based on this model, the modern birthstone list was created in 1912. It has since been defined by the National Association of Jewellers from the United States.

As well as representing the modern birthstone for October, the opal is also used to commemorate one’s 13th wedding anniversary. Conversely, the tourmaline is often given as an 8th wedding anniversary gift.


What Pieces Do Opals And Tourmalines Go Best With?

Opals are a very versatile gemstone, and often appear in a variety of jewellery settings. Examples of opal jewellery types include rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. But though they are popular jewellery settings, opals are also very delicate gemstones. When cleaning opal jewellery, steer clear of bleach, chemicals or artificial cleaners to ensure your opal maintains its clarity, quality and beauty.

As far as tourmalines are concerned, green tourmalines are the most common type of stones, and are believed to strengthen and protect the wearer. Tourmalines are predominantly set in pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets or rings. Tourmaline jewellery pieces can be cut and polished in a variety of ways, and are often used to create more ‘casual’ jewellery pieces. Bohemian-style jewellery including beaded necklaces, chunky bracelets and unique-shaped necklaces are popular settings for tourmaline gemstones. In terms of colour; red, green, blue and multi-coloured tourmaline stones are the most common colours utilised for jewellery setting.

Whether it’s a pair of opal earrings or a bohemian-style tourmaline pendant, look no further than the expert team at Perth’s Allgem Jewellers for your next piece of jewellery. Conveniently located in Hay Street Mall in the Perth CBD, Allgem’s wide range of gemstone jewellery pieces, including a range of stunning sapphire jewellery pieces, is sure to suit all design preferences. Contact our professional master jewellers or visit our showroom to take a look at our wide range of luxurious gemstone jewellery.

Derived from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’, referring to the island of Sappherine in the Arabian sea (where sapphires were discovered in ancient Grecian times), the sapphire is a gemstone that has been cherished across the globe for thousands of years.

A popular choice with royalty, sapphires are one of the most sought-after gemstones when it comes to jewellery settings. So if you’re considering including a sapphire in your next jewellery piece, read on for all you’ll need to know about this unique and beautiful gemstone.


What Is A Sapphire?

Sapphires typically appear as blue gemstones, but may also appear in other natural tints, including colourless, yellow, orange, green and brown – which are called ‘fancy sapphires’.

Sapphires are quite tough gemstones, ranking a 9 on the Mohs scale. They are often treated by heat to improve colour or clarity, which leaves permanent results.

The biggest source of sapphires in the world is in Australia – particularly in Queensland and New South Wales. Australian sapphires are typically dark blue stones which have a slightly inky appearance.

One of the world’s most famous sapphires in recent years is the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana, and now worn by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Prior to this, Queen Victoria’s Imperial State Crown of 1838 was another setting for a famous Royal sapphire; that now resides in the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.


History Of Sapphires

The first sapphires were discovered in Kashmir in 1881, when a Himalayan landslide exposed a large pocket of smooth blue crystals. As more of these crystals were discovered, Kashmir’s reputation as one of the world’s most fruitful locations for sapphires was cemented.

Another area where sapphires are commonly found is in the Mogok area of Myanmar. In this region, sapphires are typically found along with ruby deposits. This is where the ‘Burmese’ sapphire was discovered; characterised by its rich and intense blue hue.

Today, Sri Lanka is one of the most renowned sources of sapphire gemstones. The island’s sapphires are a little whiter and appear milky, but are commonly treated by heat to become a rich, blue colour. Besides these three locations, sapphires are also found in Thailand, Cambodia and Bangkok.

There is an array of legends associated with the sapphire gemstone. The elite of ancient Rome and Greece believed a sapphire would protect its owner from harm, whereas religious leaders of the Middle Ages wore sapphires as they were believed to symbolise heaven. The French in the 13th century believed the sapphire could transform stupidity to wisdom.


What Are The Other Varieties Of Sapphires?

As mentioned above, there are plenty of colour varieties when it comes to sapphires. Pink, yellow and white sapphires are all popular choices for jewellery pieces, but there are more options to choose from if you’re after more than a different colour for your unique sapphire gemstone.

The star sapphire is black and has an incredibly unique earthy tone to it. Their special feature is dubbed ‘asterism’ (which refers to exhibiting a star-like reflection), and lends an added element of mysticism that is extremely popular and unique.

Another variety is the cabochon sapphire. Utilising the oldest method for cutting crystals, cabochon crystals have a timeless appeal and a raw, earthy beauty. Cabochon sapphires are most often blue, and don’t give any flashes of light reflection or ‘sparkle’. These incredibly pure gems are intended to be viewed and appreciated for their even distribution of rich, deep blue colour. These come in a few different shapes, including oval, round, cushion and the rare sugarloaf variety.




How Did Sapphires Become The Birthstones For September?

Scholars can trace the original calendar of gemstones back to the Breastplate of Aaron as described in the Bible’s book of Exodus. The Breastplate was adorned with twelve gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel at the time – and based on this model, the modern birthstone list was created in 1912. It has since been defined by the National Association of Jewellers from the United States, and thus the sapphire’s association as the birthstone for September was set in stone.

As well as being the birthstone for September, sapphire is also gifted to commemorate 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.


What Jewellery Pieces Does This September Birthstone Go Best With?

Because it’s a relatively tough gemstone, sapphire rings are popular jewellery types and are durable enough to suit daily wear. Engagement rings, in particular, are popular settings for sapphire gemstones.

Sapphire engagement rings represent loyalty and trust; notable characteristics for the long-lasting, committed relationship that marriage often requires. Sapphire engagement rings are also a unique option as diamond engagement rings are so popular – so it’s a creative way to make a statement about the one-of-a-kind nature of your future fiancée.

Other jewellery types that are popular for sapphire settings are earrings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces.


How To Keep Your Sapphire Jewellery In Good Condition

As sapphires are often treated by heat to improve colour or clarity, it’s important to be aware of how your sapphire gemstone was treated and by what method. Fractured sapphires can be damaged by the mildest of substances, such as lemon juice, so discussing your sapphire’s treatment method is a great way to understand how much care you’ll need to give it – and whether daily wear is suitable.

When it comes to cleaning your sapphire jewellery, use warm, soapy water. As above though, if your sapphire jewellery has visible fractures, only clean it lightly with a damp cloth.

Whether it’s a sapphire ring, pair of earrings or pendant, look no further than the expert team at Perth’s Allgem Jewellers. Conveniently located in Hay Street Mall in the CBD, Allgem’s wide range of gemstone jewellery pieces, including a range of stunning sapphire jewellery pieces, is sure to suit all design preferences. Contact our professional master jewellers or visit our showroom to take a look at our wide range of luxurious gemstone jewellery.

Generally, a light green colour, the peridot is a unique birthstone known for its formation under extreme conditions in either the Earth’s mantle or in meteorites. It’s known as the ‘evening emerald’ because its sparkling green hue looks striking at any time of day.

Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. If you want to learn more about these sparkling green gems, read on for information about the peridot’s history, types and its association with the birth month of August.


What Is A Peridot?

A peridot’s green colour is dependent on the iron contents within its structure – and in fact, it’s one of few gemstones that forms only in one colour: green. Most stones are more of a yellowish-green, and the finest hue is a pure green without any hints of yellow or brown tints.

The peridot is one of two gems (the other is a diamond) that is not formed in the Earth’s crust, rather in molten rock in the upper mantle that is brought to the surface by earthquakes or volcanoes.

While the majority of peridots are found within the Earth (as mentioned above), it is also a possibility for a peridot to arrive to Earth via meteorite. Dubbed a ‘pallasitic peridot’, the most common occurrence of this is traced to the Indonesian Jeppara meteorite, but is also prevalent in the Brenham, Fukang and Imilac meteorites.

The largest peridot ever found weighs 319 carats and is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. In popular culture, you’ll often find peridot gems worn by British royals, including the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, and the Duchess of Sussex, Meagan.


History of Peridots

The first existence of peridot was recorded by Pliny the Edler (23-79 AD) on a small island off the coast of Egypt. Peridots were popular amongst the Egyptian Pharaohs, and today, the peridot is the national gem of Egypt. It’s even believed that some of Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were actually peridots. Ancient Egyptians have long prized the peridot for its protective powers and perceived gifts of inner radiance, growth and spiritual purpose.

Myanmar is another rich source of peridots. The northern slope of mountainous region Kyaukpon showcases loose peridot crystals in crevices. These specific peridots are renowned for their deep colour and sublime transparency.

Peridots are also connected to Hawaiian culture, as the gems are thought to be the tears of volcano goddess Pele.

In medieval Europe, the peridot was used as a protector; shielding the owner from evil spirits. It appeared in priests’ jewellery, and later in chalices and among churches in medieval Europe.


What Are the Different Varieties of The Peridot Gemstone?

Other common varieties of the peridot gemstone are chrysolites and olivines. Chrysolite refers to peridots that are light to medium yellow-greenish in hue, and olivine refers to darker yellow-green to brownish-green stones.


How Did Peridots Become the Birthstones for August?

There are actually three birthstones associated with the month of August: peridot, spinel and sardonyx. The peridot has been the birthstone for August since 1900, however, the tradition of birthstone selection harkens back to the Breastplate of Aaron as outlined in the Bible’s book of Exodus. The Breastplate was adorned with twelve gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel at the time – and based on this model, the modern birthstone list was created. It has since been defined by the National Association of Jewellers from the United States; affirming the peridot’s assignment to the birth month of August.

As well as being ascribed as one of August’s birthstones, peridot is the gem gifted to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.

peridot allgem jewellers

What Jewellery Pieces Does This August Birthstones Go Best With?

Peridot gems are cut in a wide variety of shapes, so they are an extremely versatile gem to work with when it comes to jewellery setting.

Peridot gems are particularly popular settings for rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants.  Peridot gemstones have been used in jewellery for centuries as they are extremely eye-catching and easy to distinguish because of its vibrant green colour. Peridots are extremely versatile, and they look stunning against any metal. For a classic, traditional look, rose gold or yellow gold are great options. If you’d prefer an edgier style, silver-coloured settings are the way to go.

Peridot rings are an extremely popular option when it comes to selecting peridot jewellery. A small peridot stone in a delicate ring setting is a stunning accompaniment to any outfit – or if you’d rather make more of a statement, a peridot cocktail ring is particularly striking. Peridot engagement rings are another great option – just remember that peridot has a very distinct colour, so your ring will be a clear stand-out and might not match colours of other jewellery or clothing pieces.

Peridots can be cut into round, princess, oval, emerald, radiant, cushion, heart and marquise styles. It can be a tricky gemstone to cut because it is prone to cracking, so be sure to select an expert jeweller to cut your peridot for you.


How To Keep Your Peridot Jewellery In Good Condition

Peridots are a great gemstone for daily wear, but it’s essential to take good care of them to maintain lustre and polish.

The best way to preserve your peridot jewellery is with warm soapy water. Drastic temperature changes can damage the gemstone, so be sure to keep the temperature of your water lukewarm and consistent. After cleaning, store your peridot jewellery piece in a cloth to keep it free from dust.

Whether it’s a peridot ring, pair of earrings or pendant, look no further than the expert team at Perth’s Allgem Jewellers. Conveniently located in Hay Street Mall in the CBD, Allgem’s wide range of gemstone jewellery pieces, including a range of stunning peridot pieces, is sure to suit all design preferences. Contact our professional master jewellers or visit our showroom to take a look at our wide range of luxurious gemstone jewellery.

The ruby is one of the world’s most valuable and highly sought-after gemstones in the world. Derived from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning ‘red’, the ruby is a gemstone for those born in July, and is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species – which also includes the sapphire.

Rubies are often associated with wealth, prosperity, vitality and wisdom. So if you’re interested about the history, stones and styles of jewellery that best celebrate this precious red gemstone, read on for our complete guide to rubies.

What is a ruby?

Similar to other gemstones, rubies are graded based on colour, cut, clarity and carat. Rubies have a Mohs hardness of 9, and its red colour is formed by the trace element of chromium.

A ruby’s colour is its most important feature. Rubies are available in a wide range of hues, from blurish red to an orange-red. Burmese rubies are the brightest and most valuable ruby colours – reflecting a rich, full red colour that is often referred to as a ‘pigeon blood’ red. As the colour of a ruby is similar to the colour of blood, rubies are often associated with life and vitality.

Large rubies with strong clarity and colour are extremely rare, and therefore more valuable. Rubies that have inconsistencies or disruptions in colour are less valuable than their clear, richly-coloured counterparts.

History of rubies

Rubies have a rich historical significance to multiple countries and cultures across the world. And with this significance comes a host of myths and legends – originating when the gemstone was referenced four times in the Bible, and noted as the most precious of the 12 stones created by God.

In ancient India, the ruby was the “king of precious stones”, and was prized for its hardness, rarity, beauty and perceived mystical powers. In Burma (now called Myanmar), warriors would hold rubies to make them invincible in battle – and in some cases, rubies would be inserted into their flesh to make the gemstone ‘part’ of their bodies. Myanmar is one of the oldest recorded sources of fine rubies; as for more than five centuries, Myanmar’s Mogok area has produced some of the world’s most exquisite rubies.

Vietnam is another important region for rubies. The Luc Yen region in northern Vietnam produces an array of red to purplish rubies annually, and the Quy Chau district further south has also fielded precious rubies.

With the birth of the western world, rubies became one of the most sought-after gemstones of the upper classes and European royalty. Medieval Europeans also maintained that rubies bestowed health, wisdom and wealth – and similar ancient civilisations believed that rubies could relieve inflammation and heal wounds from battle.

Today, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is home to some of the world’s most famous rubies – notably, the Carmen Lucia Ruby that consists of 53 carats and a rich, ruby red colour. Another notable ruby display in this museum is Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’. These iconic shoes are kept in fine condition in a temperature-controlled, alarm display case in the Gateway to American Culture wing of the museum, took over 200 hours to restore, and have as many as 2,400 ruby sequins on each shoe.

What are the different types of rubies?

As mentioned above, Burmese rubies are one of the highest quality rubies; renowned for their deep red colour. Other ruby types include African rubies, Thai rubies, Tanzania rubies, Madagascar rubies and Afghanistan rubies. Each of these types can be characterised by their unique colouring and premise of blemishes.

How did rubies become the birthstones for July?

Scholars can trace a gemstone-defined calendar back to the Breastplate of Aaron as described in the Bible’s book of Exodus. The Breastplate was adorned with twelve gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel at the time – and based on this model, the modern birthstone list was created in 1912. It has since been defined by the National Association of Jewellers from the United States, and forms the justification of the ruby’s association with the month of July.

In addition to representing the July birthstone, rubies are traditionally given for 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

What jewellery pieces does this July birthstones go best with?

Rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets are popular options for ruby gemstone settings, as each option provides a vibrant pop of colour. They are particularly striking when set in diamond engagement rings, especially in three stone settings.

When it comes to metal selection, pairing rubies with white gold or platinum can evoke an air of style and sophistication. If you opt for a yellow gold, this can create a warm and unique piece, or if it’s a yellow gold you’d prefer, this can create a romantic statement.

No matter which jewellery style you choose, rubies are guaranteed to stand out in even the simplest stud or pendant because of its intense, vibrant colour.

How to keep your ruby jewellery in good condition

Caring for your ruby jewellery can be done with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Soaking your jewellery in this warm soapy water for a few hours will loosen dirt and oils. Next, use your soft brush (this can be a toothbrush) to clean the crevices of your jewellery piece, and then wipe the piece dry with a cloth. When cleaning, don’t forget to attend to the inner side of the piece as this is what comes in contact with your skin the most.

Whether it’s a ruby engagement ring, pendant or bracelet, look no further than the expert team at Perth’s Allgem Jewellers. Conveniently located in Hay Street Mall in the CBD, Allgem’s wide range of gemstone jewellery pieces, including a range of ruby pieces, is sure to suit all design preferences. Contact our professional master jewellers or visit our showroom to take a look at our wide range of luxurious gemstone jewellery.

Those born in June are particularly fortunate when it comes to gems – as they call pearls, alexandrites and moonstones the birthstones of their birthday month. Each of these precious gems have their own features, histories and deposit locations across the globe.

So without further ado, here’s the lowdown on pearls, alexandrites and moonstones – the shared birthstones for the month of June.


What is a Pearl?

pearlsPearl is a precious gemstone believed to bring its wearer peace, confidence and relaxation. Pearls are the only gemstones that come from a living creature – as molluscs such as mussels and oysters have produced these jewels for centuries. Pearls have been long associated with purity, and as such, pearls make for popular wedding gifts.

The pearl was also thought to have beneficial and healing properties. In Asia, pearls were believed to alleviate indigestion – and some 19th century Arab physicians even maintained that powder from pearls could improve eyesight and ease depression.

Pearls are renowned for their exquisite beauty – and in particular, their lustre. Types of pearls include saltwater, freshwater, natural and cultured. All pearl types can be differentiated by their unique features, including colour, size and lustre. All three of these factors influence the value and pricing of the gem.

History of Pearls

Pearls are the world’s oldest gem. Fragments of pearl jewellery have been found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess dating back to 420 BC, which is now displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

Pearls have also been an important trade commodity since Roman times – with the discovery of pearls in Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century heralding the so-called ‘Pearl Age’. Today, natural pearls are among the rarest of gems that are infrequently found in the seas off Bahrain and Australia.


What is an Alexandrite?

alexandriteAn alexandrite is an extremely rare, colour-changing variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. This gemstone was originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountians in the 1830s, and can now be found in Brazil and Sri Lanka. This gem, however, is extremely difficult to find – which explains why it’s one of the most valuable coloured gemstones in the world.

Colour-changing alexandrite is often dubbed as ‘nature’s magic trick’. Its metamorphosis phenomenon is termed ‘Pleochroism’ – as under such light, the stone turns reddish. The alexandrite stone encourages romance, and is said to remind the wearer of their purpose and origin in life. Along with being a birthstone for June, alexandrites are commonly gifted on 55th wedding anniversaries.

History of Alexandrites

The alexandrite gem was named after the young Alexander II, as its red and green colours mirrored the national military colours of imperial Russia. As mentioned above, the first alexandrite was discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1834, and when the discoverer (French mineralist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiold) found it, he believed it was an emerald because of its brilliant green and ruby hues.


What is a Moonstone?

moonstoneAs part of the feldspar mineral group, the moonstone gem exists in a variety of extremely thin layers. The moonstone is characterised by its intriguing adularescene effect, which gives the gem an almost hypnotic and transparent effect. Hindu mythology claims that the moonstone gem is made of solidified moonbeams. This gem is often associated with love and passion – and is also believed to bring the wearer great luck and fortune.

Moonstones can be found in a variety of locations across the globe, including India, Brazil, Myanmar, Mexico, Germany and Sri Lanka. Along with being one of three birthstones for June, moonstones are commonly gifted on a 13th wedding anniversary.

History of Moonstones

Both Roman and Greek cultures associated moonstones with the gods. In Rome, this referred to the goddess Luna, and in Greece, it was relevant for the goddesses Artemis, Hectate and Selene. In later years, moonstones were incredibly popular gemstones for designers of the Art Noveau movement (such as Rene Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany), and also enjoyed a heyday during the 1960s ‘flower child’ movement, and again in the 1990s New Age movement.


How did Pearls, Alexandrites and Moonstones become the birthstones for June?

If you were born in June, you’re lucky enough to have three birthstones assigned to your birth month. Pearl is usually the primary June birthstone, but the option for choice within these three gemstones is what makes those born in June so fortunate.

The idea of a calendar year of gemstones is thought to be an ancient one, with scholars tracing it back to the Breastplate of Aaron as described in the Bible’s book of Exodus. The breastplate was adorned with twelve gemstones that represented the tribes of Israel. The modern birthstone list was then created, and has remained unchanged since 1912. It was defined by the National Association of Jewellers from the United States, and was designed to align with the zodiac signs and the months of the calendar year.


What jewellery pieces do these June birthstones go best with?

Pearls are an extremely popular gemstone for jewellery settings. Examples of types of pearl jewellery are vast, and stretch to pendants, bangles, earrings, brooches, rings, bracelets and drop necklaces. Almost all pearl jewellery created today is made using pearls that have been cultivated and farmed.

The most common jewellery types for the precious alexandrite gemstone are pendants, rings and earrings.

Moonstones are also popular gemstones for jewellery, and are often set in rings, stud earrings, drop necklaces, pendants, drop earrings and bracelets.